Mother’s Day has changed for me over the years, as it does for everyone as the years of their lives go by. I was very blessed to have two wonderful women on this earth to call “Mom,” one from my birth, and the other from my marriage. They both live in Heaven now, and I miss them both very much. Now, I find Mother’s Day a hard one to sometimes. While I am a mom, and my girls are moms, I don’t have a mom here on Earth to celebrate with. It leaves me feeling a bit empty, I guess. My moms were so special to me, and I loved them so much, and I know they are having a wonderful time in Heaven, but they aren’t here…and that makes all the difference.
My moms were both women of honor. They loved me and the rest of the family unconditionally. They taught us so many things over the years. They made us laugh, and cry a few times too. They were our disciplinarians, our nurses, teachers, chefs, and even our playmates. They were there when our lives seemed to be crashing down around us, and they were there when we were soaring above the clouds. The were our cheerleaders in ever adventure we chose to take…always telling us that we could make it. They picked us up when we fell, and made us realize that we could try again. They expected the best from us and gave us their best in return. They were the best moms ever, and I am better for having been their child. Thankfully they never asked for payment for what they did, because they are worth more than I could ever repay.
My girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce are both amazing moms too, and they have given us four beautiful grandchildren. The family continues to grow as we add fiancées, girlfriends, and boyfriends, as well as great grandchildren. And the blessing of all these new ones are great and wonderful. I love watching as my kids and grandkids go forward into their adult lives, living out their dreams. I realize just how awesome God has been in my life to give me such wonderful blessings. He has given me far more than I could ask or think of, just because He loves me. This Mother’s Day might be a little bit more lonely that others have, but the fact has not gone unnoticed to me that I am one blessed mom, grandma, daughter, and daughter-in-law.
Sometimes, it’s hard for me to realize that Father’s Day is again upon us. Since both my dad, Allen Spencer and my father-in-law, Walter Schulenberg are in Heaven now, the commercialized part of Father’s Day has little effect on me. I think about both of them daily, and miss them very much, but other than flowers for their graves, there is little in the way of things that I can give them. However, that does not mean that I don’t love, honor, and respect them today and every day. These days, I think that the best way for me to show honor to the two very special dads that God blessed me with is to try to live my life in a way that would make them proud. I suppose that a lot of people would say, “You are over 60 years old, you should do whatever you want to.” But, I don’t think that there ever comes a day when we should not try to make our parents proud. After all, they gave us life, and nurtured us all of the rest of their lives…yes, even when we were adults.
With the passing of each of my dads, came the promise to take care of the moms. And to that task, we set ourselves. It wasn’t always easy, but my dads loved their wives, and had taken care of them all of their married lives. One of the biggest worries of an elderly married person, is the thought that when they are gone, no one will take care of their spouse, and that is not a needless worry sometimes. Nevertheless, my dads knew that when they went home, my mom, Collene Spencer and my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg would be taken care of, and they were not wrong on that. My Dad passed away December 12, 2007, and we cared for my mom for seven years and two months, until her passing on February 22, 2015. My father-in-law passed away on May 5, 2013, and my mother-in-law is still alive today, and we continue to show her the love and respect she deserves, and he would want for her. These things were not a burden to be borne, but rather a privilege that was given to us…the privilege of still having our mom. No, there may not be much I can give my dad or my father-in-law, but I can do my best to always be the kind of person they would have wanted me to be.
Of course, Father’s Day for me always takes in my own sweet husband, Bob Schulenberg, and my sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce, all of whom are amazing dads, and all of whom have enriched our family by being a part of it. Every day, they add richness to our lives with their hard work, sense of humor, and their deep love for us…their family. To me, that is the most important thing a man can do. These men have been in our family for many years now, Bob for 42 years, Kevin for 24 years, and Travis for 22 years…unheard of lengths of time in marriages these days. They have proven time and time again that they are worthy of our love and respect. God gave each of us such wonderful blessings in these men. I love each of them very much, as I do my two dads in Heaven, and I wish each of them and all dads everywhere, a very happy Father’s Day!!
Not everyone is so blessed, as I am, to be married to the love of their life…and I have been for nearly 40 years now. Bob and I met when I was still in high school, and married in March after I had graduated. He stole my heart the day I met him, and he didn’t even know it for a while. That’s how Bob is though. He really doesn’t know what a great guy he is. There is no conceit in him at all. That’s ok though, I know how great he is, so I’ll take care of that part for both of us. Bob has always been a hard working man, who never was one to act proud or arrogant. I suppose that is a big part of his charm.
As a dad, Bob was so sweet, but he was a little out of his league when it came to discipline with the girls…in reality, it is a well known fact that the girls had him wrapped around their little finger…at least a little bit. No, a lot. A little batting their eyelashes, and a little “I love you Daddy” and he was in a lot of trouble. Thankfully, I was a pretty strict disciplinarian, and I think it might have been easier for me to discipline the girls than for him. Maybe if they had been boys he could have done better. I’m not so sure. He is pretty soft hearted…but really, that is a big part of his charm too. I suppose some people might not think it is charming for him to be a softy, but to me it is.
As our family has grown up and moved into their own homes, Bob and I find ourselves in the couple time of our life again, but that doesn’t mean that we are without responsibilities. We take care of parents, and that is a big job, but it is one I would not want to tackle without the love and support of my man. There are times that I have to go to the hospital in the middle of the evening, and I’m there most of the night. Bob is so understanding about this situation. It frees me up to do the things I need to do to care for our moms.
I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful man than Bob. The last 40 years have been amazing. I look forward to each new day with him, because it just gets better and better. Today is Bob’s 60th birthday. Bob it has been such an amazing life. I am so happy that we have taken this journey together. Happy birthday Sweetie!! I hope yours is a wonderful day!! I love you with all my heart!!
As another Father’s Day arrives, I find myself feeling less and less a part of the day. Yes, my husband, Bob and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis are here, and for them we will celebrate the day to honor them, but my dad and my father-in-law are both gone, and so this day also feels a little empty to me. I really miss my dad, and my father-in-law. Both of these men were so inspirational to me in my life, and I still miss their advise, their smiles, and their ideas about things…but mostly I just miss being able to talk with them. I can’t count the number of times I have wanted to call one of them up, and for a second, I almost forget…then reality sets in…they are in Heaven now.
Having taken care of both of these men in their last years, I feel like we had a bond that not many children are given. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you get to know them very well. You know their habits, their sense of humor, the things that annoy them, and the things that make them happy. For both my dad and my father-in-law, nothing is more important than their family. They always wanted their family around them. It gave them great pleasure to know that their children loved them and wanted to be around them. I find myself thinking every day of each of them, and feeling very blessed to have had them in my life for so many years. My only regret is that they are no longer in my everyday life, like they were.
As I think about their great influence on Bob and me, I realize that had our dads not been in our lives, we would not be the parents and grandparents we are today. It was their love for us that taught us how to love our children, and then we passed that on down to our children. They were not our friends growing up, but rather, just what they should have been…our dads. They became our friends later in life. They, along with our moms, disciplined us, trained us, and in doing so, they taught us how to do the same for our children. They taught us how to live in this world, taught us our work ethic, and our love of God and country. Their sense of humor, taught us to take joy in life and not to allow depression and despair to enter into our lives. What a great tribute to them and our moms that all their children grew up and became responsible adults, who do the right things in life. I thank God for them and for my husband, Bob, and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis…all of whom are wonderful caring dads, who have blessed us with their love and wisdom. Happy Father’s Day to all of you!!
There’s just something about watching old home movies…I mean the really old ones…from when you were kids, that is not only funny, but enlightening. While watching some old home movies from Bob’s family, one thing that I have noticed is that there are lots of people who don’t know how to act when they are being filmed. Some of them get nervous or embarrassed. They try to hide from the camera. Some people even get mad about being filmed, and what I found really funny about that is that one of those people who got mad, was Bob’s sister, Jennifer!! And she was only about 3 years old at the time. Even at that young age, she didn’t like being filmed, and she was clearly telling the person behind the camera just that. She tried to go in the house, but couldn’t open the door, so she turned around and started shaking her finger at the camera, and the look on her face clearly told the story…”I am not in the mood to have you film me!!”
Brenda, on the other hand, at just 1 year old, didn’t mind being filmed at all, because she was just too busy learning to walk. She toddles toward the camera with a great big smile on her face. Clearly she has no idea that she is being filmed. All she knows is that she love the camera’s operator. Like all kids who are learning to walk, Brenda takes a few unsteady steps and the plops down on the ground. The she gets back up and tries it again. At one point, Jennifer who has decided that helping her sister is more important than not wanting to be filmed, decides to help her little sister learn the walking ropes. She is learning that being filmed isn’t so bad after all, because she smiles and even poses for the camera.
A little later in the movies, the youngest child, Bob’s brother, Ron arrives. Everyone is so excited about having a baby in the family again, and everyone wants to hold him. He is passed back and forth from sibling to sibling, being a good sport about it all. Maybe that is where he got the nickname he carried for all the years I have known him…Sport. I suppose, being the youngest child, and having four older sisters, one might have to be a good sport just to survive, because as we all know, big sisters can be very bossy.
The children aren’t the only ones who don’t know exactly how to take the whole filming event either. Moms and dads, aunts and uncles, and even grandparents, dodge the camera, tying to hide behind anything form the house to the clothesline pole, and one person even slapped at the person trying to get her into the picture. How funny that these days we take self portraits with our cell phones, and when someone is filming a video, we start everything from posing to dancing to making faces. I guess we have come a long way since those early old home movies days.
These days lots of parents set their kids up with play dates with the children of their friends, so the kids can have friends and the moms can visit while the kids play. It is a common practice, and sets the kids up in their first friendships. It’s rather a new practice, and not a bad one. Kids need friends, and stay at home moms need time to relate to other adults. The play date is a good answer. Nevertheless, the play date is a fairly new event.
When I was a child, we didn’t have play dates. Most moms didn’t work outside the home, but they didn’t do play dates either. They simply told us to go outside and play. And usually there were lots of other kids, right on our own block, whose moms had just told them the same thing. Times were different then, of course, and it was safer for kids to play outside, even after dark…not that we got to do that very often, especially on a school night. When I was a kid, we always had a bunch of kids on our block, and we all played together. I guess ours was more like a block party that a play date.
There were times when the cousins came over for a visit, and while the parents visited, the kids were told to go outside and play. That was ok with us, because really, who wants to listen to all that grown up talk anyway…boring!!! Besides, when the cousins came over, and you mixed them with the rest of the kids on the block, you had the makings of a great time. Of course, there could also be the normal fights when someone didn’t want to share you with your cousins, or vice versa, but those usually were resolved pretty quickly and the fun when on.
I understand why parents today want to have play dates for their kids, and I suppose we had them to, but it certainly didn’t involve parental planning, other than telling us to go outside. I guess either way works, and it’s hard to have the block party kind of play date without first letting your child get to know other kids, but when a play date is with a friend’s child, and the friend doesn’t live on your block, they still don’t get to meet the neighborhood kids. I suppose this is a bit safer, but I like the way I grew up, where kids weren’t worried about making friends with the neighborhood kids. Too bad we can’t still be living in those times.
My Uncle Jim and my dad were a couple of characters. They loved to get together and when they did, oh boy…watch out. They would tease the kids and our moms, and manage to get everybody laughing. It was always such fun to have Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim and the kids come to our house or to go to their house. It didn’t matter how you felt before they got started, because after they started joking around, you felt great. It was just an ability they both had and when you put the two of them together, they were doubly funny. Sometimes I think they drove our moms crazy…especially when they got us kids going. And since they moved away, I think my dad always did his best to live up to the old tradition…or maybe he started it in the first place. It’s hard to say.
Dad and Uncle Jim liked to invent different soups too. They would just start throwing different ingredients in and cook it up. They were pretty good at all this, because no one complained. Many men can’t cook at all, much less make up a recipe as they go along. In fact, a lot of women can’t do that. I know I’ve tried to add things I thought would be good, and it wasn’t so spectacular. I guess you were just born with a certain knack for it.
We always had so much fun when Uncle Jim and Aunt Ruth and the kids lived here, and it was really sad to see them move away. Time and distance have pushed our lives further and further away from each other. My cousin Larry passed away in 1976, Aunt Ruth in 1992, and my dad in 2007. We hadn’t seen much of Uncle Jim, Shirley, or Terry for a long time, until Facebook brought us back together. That is something I am very happy about. My Uncle Jim turned 90 a few days ago, and while he is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s Disease, I am still thrilled that he has reached such a grand old age. And I’m quite sure that whether people see it or not, there is still that little boy in there somewhere. Uncle Jim and my dad were always just a couple of little boys at heart